Do you notice your monstera growing in an odd direction? Don’t worry, you’re not the only one experiencing this peculiar phenomenon.
Many plant owners have the same question you do: “Why is my monstera growing sideways?” This is especially bothersome because it affects the plant’s ability to appear fuller and bushier.
So, keep reading to learn why this plant species grows this way and how you can make it grow upright!
Why Is My Monstera Growing Sideways?
It’s normal for your Swiss cheese plant to grow sideways if you didn’t add a support structure for it to climb on. That was the short answer; now let’s go into more detail about why this occurs!
This lovely species belongs to the climbing plant club. Simply put, this type develops aerial roots to help it climb trees in its natural habitat.
When monsteras grow from the ground to the top of a tree, it has a better chance of receiving light. In turn, this promotes healthier growth and the development of lusher leaves.
What’s more, these magical roots absorb water and nutrients and transport them to the plant, allowing it to grow faster in the wild.
Monsteras are known for being big beauties; they can reach 3 ft tall and spread 2-3 ft.
If the aerial roots don’t cling to a support system, the plant stems won’t be able to carry their own or the weight of the leaves.
Consequently, as you watch your Swiss cheese grow, you’ll notice it leans sideways. If you got your houseplant when it was still a baby, you’ll find that it used to grow perfectly well on its own.
This is because it hasn’t yet become heavy, and the aerial roots haven’t developed. These roots will only appear as the plant matures to help it find support for its weight.
How to Make Your Monstera Grow Upright
While some people love the messy aesthetic that climbing plants create, others don’t, and we completely understand why.
When fully grown, monsteras can be too much for a small apartment. Not to mention that if a support structure wasn’t provided, it’ll crawl up your wall or onto your furniture.
When this happens, things can get ugly. Whatever your houseplant is clinging to can become dirty, and trying to untangle the roots from it can risk harming the plant.
You’ll need to add a supporting structure to avoid all monstera-related drama and have it grow gracefully upright!
You can add the structure whenever you want, but we recommend doing so before the plant matures and develops aerial roots. This will ensure that it grows larger and fuller.
Let’s introduce you to the top monstera support structure and discuss their benefits and drawbacks:
1 – Moss Poles
Moss poles are a popular choice for the Swiss cheese plant, and we must admit, it’s our favorite. It verifies all of the points we look for in a structure for this species.
These poles are tall cylindrical containers made of sphagnum moss.
Not only do they complement the tropical look of monstera, but they also promote better growth. They do so by mimicking the plant’s natural habitat in several ways.
To begin, the pole’s texture makes it easy for aerial roots to cling to it. This structure also provides the plant with additional humidity and micronutrients for healthier growth.
Above all, moss poles are incredibly sturdy and can support the weight of monstera.
They’re also simple to fix in a pot, as all you have to do is push them down the soil and tie the plant’s stems to them.
Moss poles are relatively expensive, but this will depend mainly on the brand you choose. Making one at home may end up costing you much less money.
Some plant owners dislike the upkeep of moss poles and find it exhausting.
Besides, when water sits on the pole for a long time, moss can emit a potent earthy odor that some people find unpleasant.
2 – Coco Coir Poles
Coco coir poles are similar to moss poles in many aspects, which is why we love them both equally!
Coir poles are made of coconut husks and look similar to moss poles, so they’ll give off an overall unique look.
Apart from being an environmentally friendly option, the pole has an impressive water retention capacity. This results in a more moist environment for your Swiss cheese to naturally grow in.
Coir poles also resemble the plant’s natural habitat, as explained in the supporting structure above. This means it’ll allow your monstera to grow vertically without restrictions.
This supporting structure is in the same price range as moss poles. Yet again, that’ll depend on where you get them.
Another disadvantage of coco coir poles is their extremely high salt content. Therefore, we strongly advise you to thoroughly leach these poles with water before using them.
In case you didn’t know, high levels of salt in the soil are a bad omen. It can cause dehydration in the plant and, if left untreated, death.
3 – Bamboo Stakes
Plant stakes are a common way to support vining plants, particularly when growing certain veggies and fruits.
These stakes are available in multiple materials, including wood and plastic, but our top pick for the monstera is certainly bamboo.
Despite their lightweight, bamboo stakes are remarkably robust! They’re great for supporting monsteras of all sizes because you can add as many as you want.
You can experiment with the stakes until you find the structure that works best for your plant. Several monstera owners make bamboo tripods, and we think it’s a fantastic idea.
The bamboo monstera combo is a visual treat because they blend so well together. Most importantly, you won’t break the bank by purchasing these stakes!
Bamboo stakes may rot if left in water for a prolonged time. This puts your houseplant at risk of contamination. Thus, if you choose bamboo stakes, avoid getting water near them.
If possible, you can treat the stakes with an anti-fungal agent to lower the chance of developing fungi.
Moreover, since the stake’s lower part is already in moist soil, it’ll decay faster. We saw a plant owner use a smart method that involved attaching the bamboo stakes to the outside of the pot rather than in the soil.
However, using this technique will depend on the monstera’s size because if it’s large, you’ll need to add more support in the middle of the pot.
Lastly, bamboo stakes won’t provide any extra humidity or nutrients to your tropical plant.
4 – Trellises
Plant trellises come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and colors, making them a versatile choice for plant support!
There are varying price ranges for trellises on the market, so you’ll most likely find one that fits your budget. A stiff triangular or rectangular trellis should be able to hold your monstera securely.
With all of the styles available, we’re sure you’ll see a ton of options to complement the space decor.
Better yet, there’s nothing simpler than making a DIY trellis; it’s much easier than making a moss pole!
Trellis isn’t as eco-friendly as the other options we discussed. It also doesn’t provide nourishment to the plant, as moss and coir poles do.
Moreover, a trellis isn’t a wise choice for a large monstera as it might not be strong enough to carry its weight.
Other Common Issues When Growing Monstera
Monsteras are a hardy species, so you won’t have much trouble caring for them. That said, in addition to growing sideways, you may encounter two other frequent issues:
1 – Leaves Aren’t Splitting
The stunning pattern of its slashed margins is what makes the Swiss cheese plant stand out. Thus, it’s a bit disappointing when the leaves don’t cooperate to create this look.
To begin, you should be aware that the leaves of this plant don’t develop fenestrations when they’re young.
They only begin to split as the plant matures; before that, they resemble regular heart-shaped leaves.
If your monstera reaches maturity but still doesn’t have this distinctive pattern on its leaves, it’s not getting enough light.
How to Fix
Make sure to place this beauty in a spot that gets plenty of bright indirect sunlight. That way it’ll be able to generate more energy for its leaves to develop fenestrations.
It would be ideal if you could place the pot in a location where sunlight can enter from multiple directions. If not, every time you water it, rotate the pot a quarter turn.
This will ensure that your monstera grows symmetrically and that all of its leaves are split.
2 – Browning Edges
If the lovely dark green color of the leaves is contoured with light brown, your plant may be thirsty.
When monsteras are underwatered, the tips first begin to brown, then the margins, and eventually, the entire leaf.
To confirm that it’s a case of underwatering, you can perform a quick test. If you poke your finger into the soil and it feels dry rather than muddy or moist, the plant needs water.
How to Fix
Simply remember to water your houseplant to restore its lushness. It should be hydrated 1-2 times per week.
Because this species is tropical, it thrives in humidity, so provide it with that. You can either add a humidifier in the room or mist the plant regularly.
Unfortunately, the brown margins can’t be revived; you may trim them if you’d like.
We hope you’re shopping for support structures now that you know the answer to “Why is my monstera growing sideways?”
In all honesty, monsteras will appreciate any type of support you add to their pots as long as it’s strong enough to withstand their weight.
A final tip: if you’re going with moss or coir poles, remember to mist them every now and then. This will raise the humidity level and promote the plant’s upward growth!
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.